During the past decade, Malta has performed strongly on the economic and employment fronts, making it one of the best performers in the European Union. With a well-diversified economy, several sectors have contributed to this success, the maritime sector being one of them.
Building on this legacy, the Government launched the development of Malta's first National Superyacht Policy last October. Over the past few months there has been broad consultation with key industry stakeholders and this vision document is the result of this wide and broad-based consultation process coupled with preliminary research and SWOT analysis.
The discussions showed that there is a significant gap in terms of data associated with the local superyacht industry. As a strong believer in evidence-based policymaking, the Maltese Government recognises the need for its decisions to be informed by data.
Following the collection and subsequent analysis of the feedback received in response to this consultation, an economic impact assessment (EIA) will be conducted. The outcome of the EIA will contribute to the refinement of the Government's vision for Malta's superyacht industry, and will subsequently lead to a policy based on the priorities and associated workstreams identified by the EIA. Beyond being evidence-based, the policy will also work towards the consolidation of existent efforts within the superyacht industry
This vision document is being supported by an industry report based on the extensive consultations with stakeholders from across the sector. The report highlights the state of play across various areas, among them infrastructure and training.
The starting point of mapping out an industry transformation is defining the desired state of the industry in the future. The Maltese Government's vision for the superyacht industry is being proposed as follows:
Make Malta a jurisdiction of choice for the superyacht industry by fostering a sustainable ecosystem supported by reliable infrastructure, quality services and a skilled workforce.
In turn, four pillars were identified which group a number of strategic actions that were prepared by the industry for the industry. These are:
- Product development
- Legal and regulatory framework
- Human resource development
- Environment and social considerations
Over the past years, Malta has established itself as one of the leading maritime hubs and service centres in the Mediterranean region. The Maltese maritime industry today includes varied economic activities such as ship design; ship management; shipping line operations; stevedoring; customs brokerage services; maritime environment protection; ship towage; offshore oil exploration servicing; freight forwarding; marine insurance; and shipping finance, surveying and corporate and legal services. Additionally, thanks to the traditional nature of the maritime industry, spanning back decades, the industry can also tap into a skilled and competent workforce that ensures the delivery of a fast and efficient service, and which caters for the needs of the industry.
The maritime industry is constituted of several smaller markets. A niche market within the maritime industry that has registered substantial positive results in recent years has been the superyacht1 industry. This niche industry has been characterised by uncompromising quality-based services and is based on high value-added operations. Furthermore, the superyacht industry typically prides itself for its focus on the highest standards of comfort, speed, privacy, and design amongst other factors.
To this end, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects has launched an industry-partnered approach in order to devise a strategic vision which allows the country to explore the significant opportunities that exist in the superyacht industry. This process involved looking at the existing structure of the industry, identifying future trends and highlighting the associated requirements. These trends include market and customer trends, sustainability and resilience trends, societal and workforce trends, technological advancement trends, environmental trends, and political and regulatory trends.
This strategic vision allows the country to explore possibilities through which the economic contribution of the superyacht industry can support the sustainable development of Malta by increasing the country's competitiveness as a player in the superyacht industry.
Defining the exercise and methodology used
This section outlines the scope of the exercise and gives some detail into the approach and methodology applied to deliver this strategic vision.
As the superyacht industry continues to evolve on an international level, one has to ensure that the Maltese economy reaps all the possible benefits from such growth by being proactive and tapping into opportunities with agility. To this effect, the focus of this document is to explore possible ways in which Malta can benefit from the numerous opportunities that exist in this industry.
As a small island state, Malta is pursuing a national development agenda within the global context of sustainable development. The strategic vision set out in this document will usher in a new era for the superyacht industry in Malta, with the aim of implementing a national framework that can support this industry towards this form of development. The current absence of a framework to guide the development of the local superyacht industry has given rise to several challenges. These challenges present an opportunity for the local industry to flourish and grow.
The operating environment is critical in charting a way forward as it is determined by both international and local forces. Concurrently, the industry needs to be understood in its current shape and form to ensure that a transformation process can be implemented.
In developing this strategic vision, one needs to be mindful of the different layers the industry is nested within. Three layers which impact the industry were identified: the stakeholders, who were deeply involved in the development of the industry report annexed to this document, the local context and the international environment.
Whereas the local context presents the economic environment as well as legacy the industry is facing, the international environment provides the key trends and regulatory frameworks. Increased collaboration on an international level makes this environment a key driver of change too.
The methodology underpinning this document was established and implemented by the Yachting Steering Committee (YSC). The Committee was established by the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects in September 2022, to oversee the development of the Vision for the superyacht industry. Comprised of representatives from both the public and private sector, the Committee was responsible for providing advice regarding the long-term development of the superyacht industry.
For the consultation process, the Committee established five Industry Focus Groups. The themes of the focus groups were as follows:
- Vision & Mission
- Fiscal, Legal, & Administration
- Training and Certification
- Chartering & Commercial Management
- Refits, Technical, & Infrastructure
Each focus group was chaired by Committee members. Through these focus groups several meetings took place with the industry's main stakeholders. Discussions in the focus groups were based on semi-structured questions and were facilitated by industry experts. In order to ensure consistency and conformity, whilst reducing overlap in the discussions, a template was provided to the focus group rapporteurs to guide the discussions. Based on this feedback, the rapporteurs delivered a presentation to the YSC and this feedback was discussed accordingly.
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